Just like Japan's hunt in the Southern Ocean earlier this year, the spring whaling hunt in the Northwestern Pacific resulted in record law numbers, according to the country's Fisheries Agency. This time, bad weather, rather than "overzealous" activists are to be blamed.
As Japan's whaling industry refuses to abandon its annual hunts, spending millions of dollars on fuel and equipment, not to mention ship repairs after collisions with environmental extremist group Sea Shepherd, the Japanese public's interest in eating whale meat also refuses to reverse its steady decline. Now the Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) is attempting to improve the situation by advertising whale meat as "a nutritious food that enhances physical strength and reduces fatigue."
Government sources have revealed that Japan plans to reject the recent decision by signatory countries of the 1973 pact that is officially called the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) that seeks to regulate international trading in sharks, whose populations have sharply declined due to over-hunting for the aquatic predators’ fins. These same sources say that Tokyo will file a reservation, similar to the nation’s rejection of the CITES agreement on whale hunting. The move will once again put Japan in the spotlight, as this is another evidence of the country’s negative attitude toward global efforts to preserve endangered marine resources.
Japanese pet food company Michinoku Farms announced in a press release on Wednesday that it was pulling its new dog treats product that was revealed to contain meat from fin whales exported by Iceland. The four environmental organizations that brought attention to the issue this week, including Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), and the Iruka & Kujira [Dolphin & Whale] Action Network (IKAN), praised Michinoku Farms' decision not to sell the product.
The Environmental Investigation Agency says that endangered fin whales are being exported from Iceland to Japan where they are turned into luxury dog treats. While the practice of hunting and exporting whales for human consumption is not new, being turned to pet food is something different.
As their US arm continues to be mired in legal battles with Japan in the US courts, militant conservation group Sea Shepherd has to turn to donations outside the country in order to reach the 4 million dollars needed to fund their activities. The money is primarily needed for their campaign against Japan's whaling fleet next year.
The whaling season in the north-eastern coastal waters of Japan has officially begun as four whaling ships left Ayukawa port in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture. This season, they are aiming to catch 60 minke whales for research purposes, as is their loophole to be able to continue with the practice and "tradition" of hunting whales, despite the international community's protests.
New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully confirmed that they are joining the case against Japan's whaling practices at the International Court of Justice. Australia brought the case to the ICJ in May 2010, but public hearings are about to start this June at The Hague in Netherlands.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the United Nation’s highest court, has announced that it will proceed with public hearings regarding Australia’s case against Japan’s annual whaling hunt in Antarctic waters. The case was brought before UN’s highest judicial organ in May 2010, as Australia questioned Japan’s continuing large-scale whaling program where it claims that the Asian nation is in breach of international conventions.
The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), a U.S.-based lobby group that looks towards humane treatment of animals, is crying foul over an unexpected export of whale products originating from Norway to Japan. In the bill of lading obtained by AWI, the shipment weighs over four metric tons and is scheduled to arrive in Tokyo on April 12, forcing the animal rights group to call on the government of the United States for action against the Scandinavian country.